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This time of year certainly is rich in meaning isn’t it? We have spring. We have lent.

As I sit here on this rainy, snowy day, I find myself, not for the first time, wondering if spring will EVER come. And yet, I do see signs of spring: my horse is shedding his winter coat, I can hear birdsong every time I step out the door, and little green things are popping up out of the ground.

And it is March. I like to think of March as March Forward with Purpose month. It is a good intention to set at this time of year. There are both inner and outer calls for us at certain times of the year. Winter calls us to move into a quieter, less active place, one where we contemplate more and do less. Spring, on the other hand, indicates movement. This is the time when we begin to implement the ideas that came to us during winter; those ideas that we hopefully nurtured and developed.

March forward with purpose, slowly but surely and steadily!

And while we are marching forth with purpose, those of us with religious leanings are contemplating this Lenten season. What to give up for Lent? The literal of fasting usually means giving up food, or certain types of food. I prefer the metaphorical translation of Lent. This season is a good reminder to go within and discover types of thinking, or beliefs, that no longer serve us very well, and give them up, replacing them with something more productive. And because it happens every single time I mention this, I will also add that this does not mean shaming yourself for having unproductive thoughts. There is a reason they are there. The reason is not really important. What is important is to recognize that they simply don’t apply to your life anymore. Release with gratitude and love, and replace with something more productive.

I found this meme on Facebook and wanted to share it, because I think it is good advice for what to give up this season. I want to add a disclaimer here, the meme says that Pope Francis said the words. I did some research and could find no evidence that this is true. They are still good words however, and a perfect way to begin Lent.

Hopefully you will be successful at this. I’d love to hear about your journey!

What are you painting on the canvas of your life?

A year ago today I received my ordination from Centers for Spiritual Living.  It was a long road to get there:  8 years of education plus 4 years of working “in the field” after graduating with a Masters Degree in Consciousness Studies.  When I look at the photos of me in my memories feed, I see someone who looks tired.  I was doing what that lady in the commercial for anti depression meds was doing, walking around with a paper smiley face to cover up what was really going on.  I had experienced so many changes and losses in such a short time during that period of my life and I was weathering it as best as I could.  I’m strong.  That is a character asset that has served me well many times in my life, allowing me to persevere and sometimes even succeed, no matter what.  But the shadow side of that is that I became accustomed to only being able to succeed when I felt a need to be strong to stand against what life was dishing out. That is not a good way to live.  Today I’ve come out the other end of that journey.  The active grieving is done, the PTS (I refuse to call a normal reaction to shit happening a disorder) is lessening in frequency and intensity, and today I have learned that I can succeed without hardship.  I can and do succeed just because that’s the natural and normal progression of things. And today the sun is shining and it isn’t snowing, for the first time in weeks!  So today I will bundle up and venture out into the world to continue painting on the canvas of my life.  As Ernest Holmes said, “we must all become artists in living,” and today I am an artist painting a bright and glorious canvas!

Yesterday was Chinese New Year. It is the year of the pig. Unfortunately I have no pig photos for you. I even know a pig. His name is Winston. Winston apparently likes his belly scratched, but he is also a bit wary of strangers, so I have yet to experience the pleasure of scratching his rather large belly. The last time I saw Winston, his mama had put him on a diet and Winston was not a happy pig.

However, it is said that most pigs are happy, as well as good tempered, kind hearted, positive and loyal. And prosperous. I guess that accounts for Winston needing to go on a diet. He has an abundance of food!

If you are wondering whether this is going to just be a rambling about pigs, not to worry. I’ve got a point; two actually. It’s just taking me a while to get there. First point: You get a do-over. It is New Year’s all over again. How are you doing on those resolutions which never work? Take the do-over. Or did you take my advice and set intentions instead of resolutions?

Either way, you get a do over. Thank the Chinese for it.

The other point of my post is the prosperity piece. Pigs are a symbol of prosperity. Now, I did a bit of research, as I like to do, and discovered that this prosperity thing only applies under certain conditions. If if you were born in a year of the pig, watch out. Apparently, not so much prosperity coming for you. What are those years you say? According to Wikipedia, they are: 1947, 2031, 1995, 1971, 1923, 1935, 2007, 2019, 1983, 1959. Don’t ask about the 2031. I have no clue.

But here’s the thing. I’m a Science of Mind New Thought kind of person. This means I believe in the power of thought and the Law of Attraction. This means that if we set an intention for prosperity, then prosperity we shall have. Of course, there is a lot of other stuff that goes into that, but I’m just going to leave that right here for you.

Today, you get a do-over on New Years, and you can rely on the pig. Go for it. Prosperity.

Last week I had a conversation with someone. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this conversation, and I doubt it will be the last. But what struck me was the source of this conversation. Usually, I have this conversation with folks who have a different set of beliefs than I do. Before I get off track about the beliefs, let me report the conversation.

Her: “You are very busy indeed!”

Me: “I always laugh when people tell me I’m busy.  My ministry consists of writing, creating memes/graphics, creating and doing workshops, classes and retreats, and some private coaching. And a once a week online discussion group based on the Science of Mind textbook.  I have time every day to either lounge around in the mornings watching the fat quail that hang out at our house, or to go horse back riding.  And to nest.  So...not too busy.  Life is indeed rich and full but not too busy!”

Her: “Busy-ness is a state of mind which obviously I was projecting on you.”

And there-in lies the source of the busy comments I get all the time. It is more about them than about me. Even when that comment comes from someone I consider to be spiritually enlightened.

And right there is my opportunity to speak of beliefs.

I believe in living a rich and full life. I have some fears, I have some anxieties but I do not allow those to prevent me from doing what I wish to do. Nor do I allow them to keep me from showing up as how and whom I wish to show up in the world. (And where is my editor when I need her?)

I know where some of these beliefs came from. Enjoying life to the fullest: that belief came about as a result of doing the process of recovery, and realizing I did not get sober to plod through life. I got sober to enjoy life to the fullest.

The belief that one should do what one loves for a living, no matter whether there was money in it or not? I have no idea where that one came from. When I was a kid and pondering what to do with my life, every idea or suggestion I presented to the parental units was greeted the same way: “there’s no money in that,” they would say. As for me, it has never made sense to me to spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, doing something that I did not enjoy just to bring home a paycheck.

And my thought would be, “but there is no joy in what you are suggesting.”

I am a firm believer in “build it and they will come.” I’ve been self employed for most of my adult life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is great freedom in being self employed. I have a flexible schedule, one that allows me to do all the things I love doing. That I get to do all the things I love doing is, I think, the source of all the “you’re so busy!” comments. There is a discipline involved in being self employed, for sure. I have to work, I have to produce, I have to write, no matter what. I have to ask for support and trust from people, so I can continue to do this work and get paid even before the book is published or the workshop done. I have to have faith and trust, and I have to renew that faith continuously. I still wouldn’t change it.

So no, I’m not busy. I am a great proponent of self care. I even have a workshop on self care. Most of the time I’m in balance with work, rest and play. What you believe is what you receive, and I believe that we should live lives of joy, doing what we love to earn a living, being able to play regularly, and being able to rest regularly. And that is what I do.

I know the “you’re so busy” comments will continue. I won’t tell them that speaks more to them than to me. People tend to get defensive and shut down when I do that. I see it as an opportunity for growth, but that’s just me I guess.

So today I’m going to write a bit more, nest a bit more, work a bit doing the things that set up a multiple source passive income stream, and just generally enjoy my day. Nope, not too busy.

Do you feel it?  I do.  A dis-ease.  There is, as they said in the Star Wars movies, a disturbance in The Force. Lest the more cynical of you think I am talking out of my ass, let me assure you, there is a vast work of scientific evidence that says that there is an energy force of which we are part, and it is a part of us.  Thus, we are all connected.  And we are disturbed.
Some days I wake up and I feel this disturbance more than others.  
Today is one of those days.
I could not sleep last night, a rare occurrence.  And I feel out of sorts this morning.  And nothing is wrong in my life.  In fact, things are going wonderfully.  My husband and I are getting along great, we are getting settled in nicely to our new home and I am in love with my husband, my home, my neighborhood.  I just released another work yesterday and already sales have exceeded my expectations.
So why am I feeling out of sorts?
Because there is a disturbance in The Force and I am sensitive to those things.  I actually cultivated and nurtured this sensitivity.  Go figure.  
I didn’t mean to.  But I began doing things like meditating, and purposely connecting with this Force so that I could live a better life.  It works, this stuff.  My life is better than ever.  But what I did not know was that there is a drawback to having this strong of a connection.  I feel the disturbances in the Force.  
So I will get up in a bit and go and ride my horse and forget about it all for a while.  This has a dual purpose.  It will reset my mood, because riding always resets me.  It’s like pushing a reset button on a computer.  And, in resetting my mood, I contribute to the consciousness that I am calling, for today’s purposes, The Force.  
See, because we are all connected, we can’t afford to live lives based in fear.  Those of us who know better, those of us who live lives based in love, must be more determined than ever to maintain attitudes of love, joy, gratitude, acceptance.  Because if we give in to the fear, we contribute to the disturbance.  And that I will not do.  I prefer to change that disturbance to peace.  The more of us that replace our own fear with love, the more difficult it will be for the fear to continue to reign in this country.
There is a lot of fear in this country now.  Lies are told and believed.  Manipulation of the populace is easier than ever because of the fear.  Racism has once again been given permission to blossom, as has misogyny.  That is why those of us who live lives based in love rather than fear must be diligent in our maintenance of optimism.  
We can overcome this.  If you are feeling the fear, take a step back and do what you need to do to feel the love instead.  The more of us that do that, the easier it will be to calm down that disturbance in The Force.

I've had so many people ask me about a workbook or class to accompany my book A New Thought Journey through the 12 Steps. I've done numerous workshops on the key elements, but nothing I've done up to this time is as thorough as this workbook.

Designed to do either on your own, or with a group, this workbook will facilitate within you changes that lead to freedom, joy and happiness in your life, unlike any you've ever known before.

Get the workbook, get the book if you don't already have it, and begin.

And let me know what you are thinking and feeling as you move through it!

Here we are, standing and kissing in front of our new house!

When I was in my early 30s, I learned a very valuable lesson from my loving ex-husband.  I learned that yes, I could indeed be a homeowner.  See, people like me didn’t own homes.  We rented apartments.  In neighborhoods that were a bit nebulous.
My husband at the time was having none of that, and I am so grateful for that lesson from him.
Fast forward a bit, and when we got divorced, I bought my own home, on my own.  My first! I was going to live there forever.  It was actually two buildings, right next door to one another.  My home in one building, and my photography studio in the other.  
It was perfect, and I built gardens, and enlarged my photography business and all was well and successful for a a very long time.  I had a tough time with maintenance on those two buildings, as they were built in 1947, but I loved the character of those old buildings and I learned a lot about carpentry and roofing and flooring and all sorts of other home maintenance kinds of things.  My dad bought me a power tool for Christmas two years in a row, and I was ecstatic!
Fast forward some more, and the recession hit and the photography industry changed and just about everything else in my life changed and while I owned the commercial building free and clear, I still had a mortgage on the house, and it foreclosed.  I simply could not make the payments.  I tried everything.  I tried restructuring the loan, short selling, everything I could think of.  I kept getting a no with everything I tried.  If you are familiar with the stages of grief (bargaining, acceptance, denial, anger, shock, depression) you will understand it when I say to this day I have a bit of bargaining going on.  Maybe if I had tried this or that, I tell myself.  I’ve already gone through the depression and the guilt and let those puppies go.  And the reality is that today I am in extreme gratitude for that loss, for I would not be here today had that not happened.  I hung on longer than most, but on New Year’s Day of 2013 I moved down to a little studio apartment on an 80 acre horse ranch in the Carson Valley.
I was in grad school, studying for a new career, and it soon became very clear to me that I needed to sell the commercial building, so I did.
Fast forward a bit more, my husband Floyd and I get together and decide we need to live in a bigger place than a studio, as nice as the ranch was, so we rent.  I find myself back in the land of renters and while I love the place where we live, renting has is drawbacks.  First of all there is the way we are treated by the rental company.  The first one was ok, they treated us respectfully and promptly responded to any service needs.  Then the owner changed rental companies.  This one is horrible.  They send out nasty emails containing thinly veiled threats about caring for the home, don’t respond promptly to calls, and are just plain rude and disrespectful.  I began longing to own my own home again.  I began to dream of having a place where I could plant my garden and maybe have some chickens and other critters and paint my walls anything but white and nest and set down roots.
So, I did what I know works.  I began within to manifest my own home.  I made a list of everything I ever wanted in a home, with great detail.  I visualized this list.  I affirmed it and I affirmed what it would feel like when I owned my own home.  I set my prayer partners on the task to know that this would manifest in my life.  I realized that I wanted my own garden, so I cultivated a very small patch in the yard in the rental and planted flowers.  How we do one thing is how we do everything and when I set my mind to something, I am consumed with it and I rarely take no for an answer.  It is how I have gone so far in life, how I have been able to do what others say is impossible, over and over again.  I can and do achieve the impossible, regularly.
Today, we found out we will be home owners once again.  This house is perfect in every way and has plenty of room for all our desires.   I can plant my gardens and still have room for critters.  Floyd can have his boot shop.  I can have my office and maybe one day a meeting/class room space, in the back 40.  Because this home sits on 2.5 acres.  We’ve achieved what some people said was impossible.  It hasn’t been easy.  I’m self employed, in a new career, with new sources of income.  Floyd is retired.  We have submitted no less than 48 various financial documents to the lender, completed 14 other to do items required by them, paid 1000’s of dollars in ernest money and inspection fees, and to top it all off, after we made the offer on the home, and it was accepted, we discovered that a court had to approve the sale, due to some sort of probate.
Today the court approved the sale, and we close escrow in just a couple of days.  
Happy dance!  This waiting game has been an experience fraught with alternating bouts of incredible tension, hope and excitement, doubt, tension, then hope and excitement again.  WOOGIE WOOGIE WOOGIE!
We will be moving soon!
I can’t tell you how full circle this seems.  I can’t tell you how this feels like both the ending and the beginning of a cycle that began with incredible loss and change.  Imagine losing a home, a business, moving, switching communities, and going back to school to learn a new career, all in the time frame of about 3 years.  According to the shrinks who like to test such things, I should have been in the nut house.  I’m stronger than that, but I did go through a fairly heavy duty grieving process with no small amount of the return of my old companion PTSD and that even older companion of low self worth.  Most of that is gone again now.  I’ve done a lot of inner work in these last few years.
So now we begin anew.  This new home is symbolic of a new life in many more ways than just a different place to live.  I’ve been flailing a bit, trying to figure out my niche in my new career.  So many different directions I could have gone.  I feel that solidifying, I know where I want to go now with this and now that I have a direction in which I want to go, I’m headed there with all the obsession and drive that I have done everything else that has allowed me to wildly succeed where others fail.  I’ve got some land to play with, and so I am plotting and planning footprints for my veggie and flower gardens.  I’ve been getting rid of stuff, decluttering both mentally and physically.  I’ve convinced Floyd that it is ok to get rid of things, and he has grudgingly gotten rid of a few items. 
We will be moving soon!  I put up a Christmas tree, because I can’t imagine this season without one.  Floyd was puzzled by this.  He could not see the sense in putting up a tree when we might be moving soon.  I told him, “that’s easy.  I have the tree here.  When it comes time to move, I’ll pick that puppy up, put it in the toy hauler, move it to the new house, and plop it down in the living room and plug it in.”  He still is doubtful.  He hasn’t yet learned how much possibilities there are in things. Hell, I might even reinstitute an old tradition of mine, to keep a tree up year round, because I like the symbolism of the lights and because I like the beauty of them.  One thing at a time.
I just wanted to share with you this journey.  If you want something, don’t listen to the naysayers and the society and the others who say it can’t be done.  Just quietly go about your business and it shall be done.  Begin within and set it up that way, and then move outward with the action, and it shall be done.  

Let's face it, what is happening in our society now isn't working.  It's all separation language, it is all about us and them.  And they are doing it all wrong.  And it is upsetting.  The solution is to begin to have a different kind of conversation.  Join us to be a part of the difference.

 

If it is true that every thought sets the fulfillment of its desire in motion, and I believe it is, then it behooves us to make sure our thoughts are setting good motions in place.  Ernest Holmes tells us that “trained thought is far more powerful than untrained....”

This means we must take steps to train our mind.  Those steps are the spiritual practices of self inquiry and meditation.  Done together regularly, consistently and persistently, these two practices allow for a trained mind that is supportive and friendly.

I am fond of saying that my mind is not the boss of me, but that doesn’t just happen automatically.  I had to do some work to establish a positive relationship between me and my mind.  You may be familiar with the saying that the mind is a dangerous neighborhood, we should not go there alone.  When I first began the spiritual practices of self inquiry and meditation, it was very scary and uncomfortable.  But I was told that my life would get better if I did these practices.  I did, and it did.

Today, I not only DO these practices daily, but they are a lifestyle for me. It hasn’t always been like this, but I can assure you that if you make a beginning you will eventually end up with a trained mind that is a friend, not a foe.

If you have an untrained mind that seems to be against you, I can help.  Contact me for more information.

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I became very aware a long time ago that life tends to imitate nature.  I used to go and sit on the east shore of Lake Tahoe and watch the storms come in, because in that area, the storms almost always came from the west. As I watched the clouds move in, I would think about the clouds of life moving in.  Storms sometimes bring with them great destruction.  The weight of the snow and the high winds topple trees and power lines and damage buildings.  The storms come through in winter and we do the best we can to clean up the messes as we go, clearing driveways and sidewalks of snow.  But what happens when there is so much snow that there is no longer any place to put it?  What happens in life when there are so many storms that crisis fatigue sets in?  What happens when all hope is lost, when faith disappears?  We do the same thing that we do when winter sets in.   ...continue reading "Find and Focus on the Beauty in the Change"